At a Glance
- Bernard Marx, the alienated Alpha who brings John to London.
- Lenina Crowne, the "pneumatic" Beta who falls in love with John.
- The Director, Bernard's boss and John's father.
- Linda, the Director's ex-girlfriend and mother of his son.
- John, the Director's illegitimate son.
- Helmholtz Watson, Bernard's best friend.
- Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller for Western Europe.
List of Characters
All characters in Brave New World who live in the World State are born into a carefully controlled caste system. Ranking from highest to lowest are Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. Most of the main characters struggle in different ways to fully accept the social structure of the World State. They also make attempts at freedom—some hesitant and some desperate—with varying degrees of success.
An Alpha Plus, Bernard works for the Director as an expert in hypnopædia, though he has become disillusioned by his work. He is shorter in stature than most men of his rank. His height and his unorthodox behaviors foster a rumor that alcohol was accidentally added to his blood-surrogate.
Bernard harbors a secret hatred for Henry Foster because of the way he treats Lenina, whom Bernard loves. Yet, due to his inferiority complex, Bernard also envies Henry for the ease with which he moves through and is accepted in society.
Bernard’s friendship with John, also known as “the Savage,” suddenly catapults Bernard to the top of the social hierarchy. He decides to take advantage of his status and indulges in all the things he was critical of before, including soma. When his popularity abruptly sinks, however, he becomes distraught.
When John rebels by trying to deny Delta workers of their beloved soma, Bernard wants to help him and save him from the Delta’s mobbish anger. However, Bernard cannot bring himself to help John out of fear of persecution. Mustapha confronts Bernard, who becomes inconsolable at the idea of being sent to an island. He then turns on John and Helmholtz, though later apologizes to them.
Helmholtz is a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering, as well as a writer. He is Bernard’s closest friend and shares with him a feeling of being different from the rest of society. For Helmholtz, this difference manifests intellectually instead of physically, as he possess the characteristic physical features of an Alpha Plus; unlike Bernard, Helmholtz is tall and handsome. Helmholtz senses that there is something more meaningful beneath the superficiality offered by society, but he cannot identify what that something is. Undaunted, he seeks it out and has long conversations about it with Bernard.
Helmholtz longs to write something meaningful, so he begins writing about taboo subjects like loneliness. He is reported for his unconventionality, but he takes this lightly and feels as though he’s finally reaching his potential. When he is exiled by Mustapha, he chooses to go to the Falkland Islands, where he feels the moody climate will bolster his writing.
John the Savage
John is the son of the Director and Linda. He has light-colored hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. Born and raised among the Indians at Malpais, John is always treated as an outsider and is fascinated by his mother’s descriptions of the “Other Place,” where she grew up.
John learns to read from an old collection of Shakespeare’s works and adopts a slightly old-fashioned way of speaking because of it. He is the first character to reference the book’s title, a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as a descriptor for modern society in the World State.
He is excited to accompany Bernard and Lenina when they return to the World State, but he soon becomes disheartened by its rigid social structure and its normalized promiscuity. Everyone he meets finds him odd and refers to him as “the Savage.” Despite being in love with Lenina, he disparages her sexual forwardness and becomes violent with her when she tries to seduce him.
He is distraught after...
(The entire section is 1,606 words.)